Immersion Guitar Lessons

Published: 16th September 2011
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The experience of learning to play guitar should be viewed as a life-long process, and not a short-term diversion that will be replaced by the next fad or popular pastime. In fact, the desire to create a soulful connection with oneself and the life we live is at the heart of the music that has inspired any aspiring guitarist to pick up the guitar.



Given the depth of commitment required to fulfill such heady goals, it is always a bit befuddling to me why anyone would think they could emulate the very music that has inspired such heart-felt emotion by taking a half-hour or a one-hour guitar lesson once per week.



While there are many short-term rewards associated with learning how to play guitar, for example, getting an F chord to play with no buzzing or muffled strings, being able to change effortlessly from one chord to another, or being able to play guitar and sing at the same time, the larger vision of providing soul-satisfying musical experiences for oneself requires a commitment that is worthy of such powerful, long-lasting rewards.



The idea that one could acquire the facility to express him or herself eloquently by working with a guitar teacher for a half hour or an hour, once a week, flies in the face of all that is logical.



I believe that, regardless of the level of oneís guitar playing aspirations or guitar-playing experience, any guitarist seeking to enhance and augment their guitar playing would be best served by immersing themselves in the guitar lesson experience. As with learning a language, the interaction with someone who speaks the language the way you wish to speak it is where the actual learning takes place, and allowing oneself to dive full force into the guitar lesson experience is what will provide the most beneficial and satisfying results.



When we learned our native tongue, we were surrounded by a host of individuals who were engaging us in the practice of the very language we were assimilating. Did we learn to speak by having a conversation for an hour or less each week with our parents, family friends, or aunts and uncles and then going off by ourselves to practice our linguistic drills? Hardly! What stimulated us and brought the learning process forward were these very exchanges, which incorporated real life emotions and the sharing of ideas into the language we were learning.



If the only means of learning a language had been a half-hour or one-hour lesson once per week, the entire world would still be speaking in one-word utterances and grunts.



Imagine the obstacles faced by a high-school football team which practices once a week for an hour, or trying to learn algebra in a one hour class that met once a week (not that a full schedule of algebra classes really helped me much), or trying to learn the ins and outs of computer software within the confines of a one-hour-per-week course.



I think itís fair to say that no one could reasonably think that such goals would be readily reached within such limited parameters. Yet, most people would go along with, and even advocate, such a limited lesson structure for guitar lessons.



To those who might suggest that the cost of guitar lessons for more than a half-hour or one hour per week might be prohibitive, I would offer the following:



Letís say you've envisioned taking a one-hour guitar lesson once per week for two years, and the fee for that one-hour lesson is $50, thereby costing a total of $4000 over the two-year period.



For the same $4000, the aspiring guitarist could work with a guitar teacher for two hours each week and achieve his or her playing goals in a much shorter time. I might even be so bold to suggest that the two-hour format might accomplish more due to the exponential effect of spending more than a half-hour or an hour with someone who is more well-versed in the skill we are seeking to acquire.



The therapeutic, social, and entertainment value of playing music, and, for the sake of our purposes, guitar, cannot be disputed, and I offer this approach of immersion as a means of taking your guitar playing where you want it to go not only sooner, but in a more powerful and effective way.


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